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Happening Now

News/Business. Jon Scott, Jenna Lee. Breaking news reports. New.

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Us 24, Boehner 17, Benghazi 11, U.s. 10, Clinton 10, Washington 8, Florida 8, Sarasota 7, Syria 7, Kansas 6, Jon 6, America 6, John Boehner 4, Biden 4, John Bolton 4, Jenna 4, Atlanta 4, Damascus 3, Janice 3, Alabama 3,
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  FOX News    Happening Now    News/Business. Jon Scott, Jenna  
   Lee. Breaking news reports. New.  

    December 19, 2012
    8:00 - 10:00am PST  

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rigged. remember this prue ha-ha. they claimed the judges halved seechb the top five winners before the pageant begun. they slapped her with a defamation suit saying that was impossible. she has been ordered to pay up. they have been vindicated. built where is she getting $5 million? the neighbors call her a grinch. tex sass woman stealing christmas decorations pro homes in the neighborhood. thee they caught the suspect in the act. sheriffs in parker county texas are on the lookout for her. there she foes again. martha: how can you look yourself in the mirror to steal other people's christmas deck operation race -- decorations to put them on your own house. bill: might have been short lights in the tree. see you on the radio. martha: bye, everybody, see you tomorrow. jenna: bill, martha, we have a breaking situation in
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arizona. a school in lockdown there. police say they received reports of an armed suspect at this scottsdale middle school this morning. you're seeing some live pictures we have from our live affiliate there. students have been transferred to a nearby church. we'll keep you posted as we hear more. right now brand new stories and breaking news. jon: a new report out on the terror attack that killed four americans. the findings of an independent panel. plus the bodies of two notorious killers exhumed as detectives probe another mystery dating back to 1959. plus a train derailed by a mudslide. we'll show you the incredible pictures. it's all "happening now." jon: a scathing new report on the benghazi terror attacks that left four americans including our ambassador dead. good morning, i'm jon scott.
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jenna: good morning, everybody, i'm jenna lee. an independent panel authored this report that slammed the state deet and blaming management and leadership there for quote, systemic failures and gross security lapses. however the panel recommends at this time no disciplinary action. chief intelligence correspondent catherine herridge is live on capitol hill with more on this. catherine, in the last hour we have some brand new reaction to this report. what can you tell us about that? >> reporter: that's right, jenna. first of all the report concludes there was no protest prior to the attack. that al qaeda is not dead. it has metastasized. that its followers have a new home in eastern libya. and that the benghazi on 9/11 was a significant defeat for the united states. it killed 4:00 americans including our ambassador. it also shuttered our diplomatic security presence in eastern lib. >> as well as a sizable cia operation. within the last hour a senior democrat at the
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closed classified briefing said there were systemic failures at seniors levels of the state department. >> i think the conclusion was very stark, very candid, very honest and told us the following. the mistakes were made, lives were lost and lessons need to be learned. first america can not retreat from a dangerous world. it is important for us to be there, to not only protecting our values but protecting american citizens. >> reporter: the report states that in the summer of 2012 the security conditions on the ground prior to the attack in benghazi were consistently deteriorating. the report cites 20 separate incidents, some targeting the u.s. facility. at the same time the state department increasingly was relying on a local libyan militia known as the 17th february brigade as well as on outside security contractor to protect the consulate. the report concludes neither provided meaningful defense on the day of the attack. jenna: what about the
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hearings? will secretary clinton testify on any of this information? >> reporter: well the unclassified report is lengthy but a key piece is missing. it does not address the policy piece. for example, why was it that secretary of state hillary clinton and her office felt that a smaller, or light footprint was necessary or was justified in eastern libya given the intelligence about the deteriorating security conditions? just a short time ago a senior republican here on capitol hill said secretary of state hillary clinton must testify. >> i do think it's imperative for all concerned she testify in an open session prior to any changing of the regime. i think that that's very important for her. i think it's very important for our country and i think it's very important to really understand, certainly the inner-workings of the state department itself. >> reporter: there are two other key takeaways. the report does seem to
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suggest some blame is shared by ambassador chris stevens who was killed in that attack. it says the u.s. embassy in tripoli, he would be the most senior representative should have advocated more strongly for extra security in benghazi it also states it was stevens's decision to travel to benghazi on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. separately as you mentioned earlier, even though there were these systemic failures at senior levels of the state department, this independent review does not call for any formal disciplinary action, jenna. jenna: underscore that today. catherine, thank you very much. more on the story as we get it. in fact we'll be talking about what does this report mean, what does it tell us and what about the future of our embassies overseas in the new year ahead? ambassador john bolton joins us with his take about 20 minutes from now. jon: new information as president obama and house speaker john boehner jointly try to chart a course to keep the nation from going off the fiscal cliff. on capitol hill lawmakers are trying to digest speaker
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boehner's latest fall back proposal, so-called plan. about, that calls for extension of the bush-era tax cuts for incomes up to one million dollars. but with 13 days left to go, will lawmakers be able to come to some sort of a deal in time? joining us now, fox news political analyst juan williams. juan, are you an optimist or a pessimist on the cliff? >> i'm a guarded optimist, sides have come quite aways and i think earlier in the week the optimism was actually all over town much like christmas spirit. it has been tempered now as speaker boehner has gone back to the board and gone back to his own republican troops to say there is an alternative. they don't want him to be in these negotiations if they feel that he is ceding too much. they can go with the so-called plan b. it is a bit jargonish, but basically boils down to a bill he could put up to a vote on thursday that would allow the republicans to say, they have a plan, which is, they will allow rates to increase on people that make more than a million dollars.
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jon: well, and what's been the reaction among republicans to that idea? >> well, it's varied. it is interesting because the plan does not deal with the sequestration. some of those cuts would still be impacted because as part of this plan boehner has not laid out exactly where his cuts would be. so some of those severe cuts, for example to defense are still in place, jon. so you have republicans who care deeply about the defense, you know, about the pentagon and defense spending saying, no, we're not comfortable with it. you have others who say that we, as republicans have to do something about spending. that is what this whole issue really is about confronting and why speaker boehner's plan absent or silent on that front. jon: one of the complaints republicans have is that the president, although he has apparently moved a little bit on the tax rates last we understand it, again all this is happening in secret, but last we understood the
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president was offering tax hikes on incomes above00,000. that is a bit of a move from 250,000 as before. but the republican complaint he has not offered enough spending cuts. what's your take? >> well, you know, from the democrats now, this is interesting, as other side intriguing perspective, they think that the president is basically negotiating against himself and has been too quick to do something called change cpi. the consumer price index, the rate of growth for social security and other safety net programs, change it in such a way it would slow the growth of spending on those programs. this is something that speaker boehner had requested. similarly the president and speaker boehner have looked at cuts to other, you know, programs. the president has tried to protect veterans benefits, the disabled. but this is something that from the democrats point of view the president is going to have to pay a political price for. but again from the republican point of view when they look at revenue
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the president and speaker boehner are about 200 dal billion apart. they're not that far apart, jon. this is a reason for optimism but republicans want this to be totally balanced effort. one for one. if you have a tax increase it would be matched by spending cuts. right now they're saying that the president in fact has in his plan infrastructure spending that exceeds the amount of any tax revenue that is going to be brought in. so they don't like that. jon: you mentioned the political price the president might pay. he has been reelected. he might do something that angers his base or angers, you know, harry reid and the senate or something like that but he doesn't have to run for election again. he's done. so speaker boehner, it has been suggested, if he comes to a deal with the president, that his caucus doesn't like, potentially he could even lose his speakership. does the president have to be sensitive to boehner's needs in this circumstance? >> he does and, you know, this is an intriguing political dynamic to watch. you know about the history
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of this relationship going back to the last time that they were close to some kind of cliff. that was with regard to raising the debt ceiling and they tried to establish a grand bargain. they have had some really tense and unpleasant relationships in the past. now they're, they have had so many meetings in the last few days about a dozen, more than half a dozen, is what i should say, but here is where president obama really needs, and you think is capable of showing leadership. helping speaker boehner to win over the strong conservative base that, in his, you know, contingent in the house. and think that's what he has tried to do with the cpi because it will be clear that there is blood on the floor on the democratic side. the question is, how much and how far will speaker boehner be able to go in terms of, not only allowing tax rates to go up for some folks but insisting that, you know, the rate of the cuts and what specific cuts the president has in mind is
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sufficiently a good deal and that republicans need to take this deal rather than go over the fiscal cliff where polls indicate voters would largely blame them. jon: if ronald reagan and tip o'neil could work together maybe barack obama and john boehner can too. we'll see. >> well you know it is the holiday season. you would hope. i think that's another reason for optimism, jon. these are human beings. they want to go home. jon: don't we all. juan williams. good to have you on. thanks. >> thanks, jon. jenna: we'll turnover seas now as questions remain in syria just how close we are to the fall of the assad regime there. the government is there in syria is carrying out broad attacks against rebels in the suburbs of damascus as the u.n. appeals for one billion dollars, one billion dollars to help support rising numbers of syrian refugees, almost half of them children. leland vittert is live in our middle east bureau with more on this. leland? >> reporter: jenna, the term humanitarian crisis now really applies not only what
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is going on inside syria but the conditions at refugee camps where hundreds of thousands of people have literally showed up with the clothes on their back. the latest video out of damascus shows people leaving with whatever they can carry. dragging suitcases and their kids as they flee the fighting in the suburbs around damascus where things have really gotten significantly worse. it is impossible to tell from this video but winter has begun to set in there on the turkish-syria border. inside some of these camps you're dealing with freezing temperatures, below freezing temperatures. inside turkey they're having enough trouble keeping enough food there. they're having trouble keeping peel warm there. as you are seeing from the video, there is real problem keeping people dry dealing with torrential reins that come through this area during the winter season. this is only getting worse as more and more refugees flooding in towards these camps. this is of course what they are escaping. fighting still continues on the ground inside of syria. the army, although it has
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gotten battered in recent battles over the past couple weeks is now fighting back mostly with artillery and also their air force. the rebels succeeded in pushing the army out of a lot of cities however that just means the army goes in with their artillery, their air force and destroys with whatever they can. the rebels for their part still badly outgunned are doing better, they are becoming more organized. they're getting weapons from qatar and other gulf countries to keep the pressure up on president assad. actions speak a whole lot louder than words here in the middle east. and one of syria's only allies, russia, has stood behind them at least in the diplomatic speak but we just learned russia is sending warships to off the syrian coast there in the mediterranean sea potentially to evacuate russian civilians if things continue to deteriorate inside syria. which does tell you, jenna, people inside syria and also inside the russian government are making at least contingency plans for the demise of the assad regime. jenna. jenna: we'll continue to watch it.
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level land, thank you. jon: one of hollywood's biggest stars expected to testify today on capitol hill. so what do you think brings ben affleck to washington? plus new details on the investigation in connecticut. what the chief medical examiner plans to look at that could help answer the question, why. ♪ the weather outside is frightful ♪ ♪ but the fire is so delightful ♪ nothing melts away the cold like a hot, delicious bowl of chicken noodle soup from campbell's. ♪ let it snow, let it snow can i still ship a gift in time r christmas? yeah, sure you can. great. where's your gift? uh...
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jon: breaking right now. a scary situation in scottsdale, arizona.
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a school under lockdown there. police received reports of an armed suspect at a middle school there this morning. right now officers are searching the area, still looking for this person thought to have had a gun. the students have been told to assemble at a nearby church. there are side by side schools there. pardon me while i read this off the latest computer information. the actual alert came from the a middle school in scottsdale at 6615 east choya street. it is adjacent to shape pa -- chaparal high school. they are told to as sell bell at a nearby catholic church. there appear to be swat officers already on the premises. they are looking for the suspect. after what happened last week, you can imagine they are going to use an bund dan -- abundance of caution. we'll keep an eye on the
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situation out of scottsdale. jon: a soin. we'll let you know if anything happens. >> the chief medical examiner is looking at genetics of the killer to see if that played a role at all in this terrifying rampage as we remember more of the young victims. peter doocy is live in newtown. what exactly is the medical examiner trying to prove or look into here? >> reporter: jenna, the chief medical examiner, wayne carver, has recruit ad geneticist from you con, the university of connecticut, if there is known dizzy or disorder could be associated with the kind of murderous behavior that adam lanza showed last friday. dr. carver doesn't know for sure if adam had asperger's, but if he did that would not be associated with this kind of violence. he wants a geneticist to help figure out what kind of disorder s 25-year-old marine from sandy hook, that
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adam lanza thought his mom cared more for kindergartners she volunteered with last year than they did for him. he may have gone to their first grade classroom on friday when he found his mom was trying to send him to a mental institution. this marine told foxnews.com, quote, from what i've been told, adam was aware of her petitioning the court for conservatorship and her plans to have him committed. adam was apparently very upset about this he thought she just wanted to send him away. from what i understand he was really, really angry. think could have been it. what set him off? court records are sealed but a senior law enforcement official told foxnews.com, that, possible anger about future mental health treatment is looked at as a possible motive, jenna. >> we'll wait for confirmation from all of that. we'll continue to talk about the killer and potentially the motives there. let's talk about the victims as well. what can you tell us about the funerals taking place today? >> reporter: there are some
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funerals taking place right now, jenna. up the rode the funeral services for 27-year-old first grade teacher victoria soto are underway. so many family and friends showed up they actually couldn't fit everyone inside. they set up chairs and some speakers outside. that funeral is underway right now. and any minute we're expecting a procession of firefighters right down here on church street that are going to be escorting the body of 7-year-old daniel barden, who wanted to be a firefighter for his entire life. firefighters from all over the region have descended upon newtown. they will take his, they will take the hearse escorting his body past this memorial here at the christmas tree, past a memorial at a firehouse where there is also a giant american flag flying right now and they're going to take it past sandy hook elementary school, jenna, on their way to the cemetery. jenna: nice tribute. we only wish they never had to do it. peter, thank you very much for that. more out of newtown
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throughout the day today. jon: there's some new fallout after a report on benghazi that is just out and what led to the deadly terror attack. why the panel is so critical of the state department and its management. it could impact the white house. ambassador john bolton is live with his take moments from now. also we are checking on the dow, down a handful of points, about five right now. the, the markets were fairly optimistic earlier in the week that they were going to come to some kind of an agreement about this fiscal cliff. so far no agreement. i guess it's wait and see time on wall street. the dow down five points right now. to the best vacation spot on earth.
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louisiana or florida, they're gonna love it. shaul, your alabama hospitality is incredible. thanks, karen. love your mississippi outdoors. i vote for your florida beaches, dawn. bill, this louisiana seafood is delicious. we're having such a great year on the gulf, we've decided to put aside our rivalry. now is the perfect time to visit anyone of our states. the beaches and waters couldn't be more beautiful. take a boat ride, go fishing or just lay in the sun. we've got coastline to explore and wildlife to photograph. and there's world class dining with our world famous seafood. so for a great vacation this year, come to the gulf. its all fabulous but i give florida the edge. right after mississippi. you mean alabama. say louisiana or there's no dessert. this invitation is brought to you by bp and all of us who call the gulf home.
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jenna: well come back -- welcome back, everyone. a few crime headlines we are following. police in colorado springs are issuing a amber alert for a missing 2-year-old girl. you're seeing her on the screen. she was last seen monday night with a woman friend of the mother of the child. that woman is now a person of interest in the case. we'll keep you posted on that. also a french court is expected to deliver a verdict in the trial of dominique strauss-kahn. the former imf chief that stands accused now of participating in a prostitution ring run out after luxury hotel in france. 11-year-old boy in utah could face criminal charges after he brought a gun to school. the sixth grader said he wanted to protect himself from a newtown-style school shooting. jon: some new information on the closed-door hearings on the benghazi terror attack after a skathsing new report about what went wrong.
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an independent panel finds security at the u.s. mission in libya was grossly inadequate to deal with the september 11th attack. four americans were killed including our ambassador there. the report was highly critical of the state department for quote, systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies. joining us now ambassador john bolton, former u.s. ambassador to the united nations and a fox news contributor. ambassador bolton, hillary clinton publicly said the buck stops with her on this, you know, security problem that led to the four deaths. this report suggests that nobody should be held responsible. i mean it talks about all of these problems but, doesn't lay the blame at anybody's feet. why? >> well, it doesn't name names. at least in the unclassified version that's been released but i think if you read the whole report when it talks
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of systemic failures, and even though it focuses on the near east bureau and the diplomatic security bureau, reading about the general lack of sensitivity of the state department to the deteriorating security situation around the entire middle east i think this repetition, this emphasis on systemic failure really points to the very top leadership of the department. if you've got a systemic failure, you should ask who's in charge ever the civil? and i do think that ultimately gets right to the captain of the ship, secretary clinton. jon: well, she was supposed to testify this week on capitol hill. she has been unable to do that because of her health condition. tennessee senator bob corker says that we ought not confirm a new secretary of state until the senate or the house or both hear that testimony. take a listen. >> it's imperative that senator, that excuse me, secretary clinton, do
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testify in an open setting prior to any new secretary of state being confirmed. jon: why do it prior to a confirmation? >> well i think, i don't want to try to read senator corker's mind but i think he is making a very important point. when secretary clinton become as private citizen it become as very different circumstance and he has put an interesting dynamic in play since the expected successor is senator john kerry, the chairman of the senate foreign relations committee who would be the senator responsible for rescheduling secretary clinton's appearance. so it put as strong incentive behind senator kerry to get that hearing out of the way so his confirmation hearing can take place. but you think senator corker has correctly identified that congress can't be satisfied until it hears from secretary clinton at an appropriate time. jon: there were a lot of questions during and after these attacks whether the
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military could have or should have done more. one of the questions that gets answered by this independent review board, they say, the military was not at fault here. this was a problem that lay completely with the state department. >> yeah, it's very interesting. the report is limited in its scope. it stayed to the mandate the state department gave it so there would be a lot of questions that remain to be answered through some other mechanism but in this particular instance it is very definitive and we'll have to see what others say but on the day of the attack it doesn't leave the impression much else could be done which is why the criticism of the state department for failing to take the steps beforehand is so devastating. jon: it also shoots down the story lien this all developed over that protest of a movie. >> right. and there the report again, we're only talking about the unclassified version but it was unambiguous, short, sweet, and to the point that this was a security threat.
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that they could tell from the get-go at the consulate in benghazi that this was a terrorist attack and i was struck by how clear and unambiguous the report's finding on that point was. jon: as you point out, this is only the unclassified version. ambassador john bolton, thank you. >> thank you. jenna: blizzard warnings in effect for part of the country now as several states brace for a lot of snow, potentially a white christmas. meteorologist janice dean with the latest for us straight ahead. also the bodies of the executed murderers from truman capote's true life crime story, "in cold blood", have just been exhumed. what detectives are looking for that may solve a 53-year-old crime again, this day, 53 years ago. we'll bring you that update ahead. ♪
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jon: well, fox weather alert now on a winter storm on the
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move. blizzard warnings in effect for parts of the central and southern plains. some areas expected to get at least a foot of snow. meteorologist janice dean live in the fox weather center for us now. jd. >> i know you're watching the colorado rockies. jon: yes i am. >> the good news we'll get some snow, a white christmas for a lot of people but the bad news blizzard conditions and even a slight risk for tornados. let's talk about the storm system as it continues to move across the central u.s. yes, certainly 12 to 18 inches of snow but with wind gusts in excess of 40 to 50 miles an hour. that is going to cause some blizzard conditions. you see where the snow is. we also have some rain falling across the central u.s. but blizzard warnings for half a dozen states right now. let's take a look at it. where you see red, colorado, parts of nebraska, cans sass, up through iowa and wisconsin, that is where we see the heavy snow. winds of 50 miles an hour or more and that will cause blowing snow. visibility down to nothing
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in some cases. let's take a look at your future radar as we go further out in time. this system will continue to move eastward, pack a punch as well as the threat for severe weather including a risk for tornados across the mississippi river valley today and tomorrow across the southeast. unfortunately the northeast, along the coast, you're not going to get some snow. it will be mainly a rain event. interior sections, yes you get the snow. look for severe weather next twelve to 24 hours across the mississippi river valley. hail, damaging winds, heavy rainfall, and yes, december tornados. we could see several of them, heading into tomorrow, across the southeast, northern florida, the risk for severe weather. so this is going to pack a punch for much of the country, jon and jenna. of course the good news a lot of the country will see a white christmas. back to you. jon: so i have to head to colorado if i want one? >> i know. the coastal regions of the northeast it will be rain unfortunately. jon: okay. >> i know.
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bah humbug. jon: we'll take it. janice dean. thank you. >> see ya. jenna: a potential break today in a cold case murder that happened 53 years ago today. the bodies of two convicted killers, the central characters in truman capote's true crime classic, "in cold blood", have been exhumed from a kansas cemetery. a judge ordering their bodies to be dug up so detectives can find dna evidence that may link the men to another case, a murder of a florida rancher, his wife and their two children. we're joined by the reporter that broke the story for a newspaper, janice mcfarland, who traveled to where the bodies were exhumed and michael baden, forensic pa thol exist and fox news contributor. this has been a high-profile case. seems according to this reporting this exhumation happened in secret. talk to us about that.
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>> yeah, it was, definitely done kind of quietly and covertly. we didn't actually no for sure it would happen this week even. we were watching the cemetery for the last couple days and, only saw yesterday that they had blocked off the cemetery and they had police cars outside and we knew they were exhuming the bodies right now. jenna: any reason for why now? >> yeah. part of the reason is that they have just now built the case showing that there is enough evidence, enough probable cause to dig up the bodies. doing it before the holidays they avoid some of the bad weather and that might have frozen the ground and made it much more difficult to exhume the bodies. jenna: have you talked to families of these two men, the two convicted killers or anyone over the years and what have you gathered from that? >> i haven't spoken with anyone who necessarily knew the killers very well. i've spoken with the undertaker who prepared
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their bodies and witnessed their execution and the chief prosecutor who was the one who asked for the death penalty to be applied to their case. jenna: just to catch everybody up on this. these two guys were convicted of murdering a family, a husband and wife and two children and then there was another murder of a husband and wife and two children in florida. that's where the question mark is about, what about that family in florida? their murderers were never found. there is a line, i wanted to ask you about in your story where you said that the sarasota d.a., the officials in sarasota, there is some concern they will get what they need. why? >> the, what's happening in the case right now is that since the bodies were buried in kansas and they're convicted on a kansas case, they're being treated as an ongoing kansas investigation. and so the samples are actually being analyzed for dna in kansas lab and kept here and that will be
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communicated to florida and compared with the evidence in the walker case. jenna: we're going to talk to dr. baud ben that now. shannon, thanks so much for your reporting on this. we appreciate it. we'll bring you back as we hear more about this case. dr. baden, what do you make of what shannon just said? we're dealing with difficult states. how does that complaint anything if at all? >> i don't think it will complicate anything. they will give their information to the sarasota police to any use in criminal case in sarasota. that's not a problem. jenna: officials in kansas, a reference a lot of us have are television shows and body is exhumed and find dna and by the end of the show you know who the person is. officials on ground say it might take several weeks to even get dna. why would it take so long? >> in the old days it used to take months. now it takes a few days in clean dna but taking dna from the bones and teeth is what they will be looking for, can take a week or two to clean it and put it through proper processing.
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jenna: how do you even go about that with someone who has been buried for decades? >> in the exhumation, one of the things they're counting on is that bone and teeth stay around a long time and they both preserve the dna for, we can take hundreds of years, i've exhumed bodies 75 and 100 years later they were able to find dna. the issue will be, does the dna they get from these remains match the dna from the semen in the sarasota case? jenna: there was a rape as well as a murder? >> yes. jenna: this family, the mother was specifically raped and murdered. >> right. jenna: it was a horrific case for the community. we talked about last time finding justice for the family even now 53 years later the you say it is not just about the dna match. talking about this exhumation might bring something to the case . what do you mean by that. >> often what happens in these kind of cases if the dna matches it's a done
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case. if it doesn't match it means, semen, the rape was done by somebody else, it is still publicizes the case, brings it to people's attention and more, sometimes, people will come forth who have critical information who, a, were afraid to give it over in 1959, or who thought the case had been solved already and so that's one of the things they're looking for. jenna: based on what you have read of this case do you think it will be a match? >> i think it is a very long shot. they investigated that case in 1959. they didn't have dna but they had other means of investigation and they didn't think these two guys were related to the sarasota case. but, if the dna is, matches, that overcomes everything. but i think it's a very long shot but i think, even more likely is the possibility that the sarasota police are getting information from other old-timers who may know something but never came forth with that
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information. jenna: fascinating. hopefully justice will be found for this family. >> yes, yes. jenna: dr. baden, thank you for your help on this case. >> thank you. jenna: jon? jon: frightening moments to show you that were caught on video. a massive mudslide thunders down a 100 foothill. the shocking results coming up next. plus, senior correspondent john roberts live at atlanta's hartsfield-jackson international airport with a heart-warming story just in time for the holidays. john? >> reporter: yeah, jon. a few days before christmas, thousands of fresh-faced army recruits from for the benning heading home for what may be their last christmas holiday before they are deployed to the war zone in afghanistan. we'll have more on that story coming up right after the break.
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jenna: in a private press briefing our ed henry learned something very significant from the white house when it comes to this fiscal cliff deal or no
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deal. apparently the white house right now, according to senior administration officials, are accusing boehner of at least, temporarily derailing the debt talks. we talked about plan b being offered yesterday. boehner came out and said, what i'd like to do at least push through legislation those making less than a million dollars will not see taxes go up in the new year. the white house came back during the show yesterday and say, no deal. we're learning even more about this. the white house very pessimistic, at least in this account, of getting any sort of deal done. they even mentioned that the president was getting ready to leave for vacation like some are this time of year. he decided to stay in d.c. until maybe they reach a deal. one of the things the officials noted as well, boehner's plan did not deal with expiring unemployment benefits. that might be something else we hear about. ed henry will be up in 15 minutes about the very latest where do these fiscal cliff talks stand. more on that as we get it. jon: less than a week before
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christmas, passenger trains are down outside of seattle. two mudslides hit the rails yesterday. one in the morning, the other just a few hours later. look at this. the second one taking out a freight train, derailing seven cars! it is going to take weeks, we're told to move those cars off the tracks. and of course get rid of the mud. meanwhile other freight trains have been rerouted but, earning pa trains, are being held tomorrow for safety reasons. jenna: here's something to cheer about especially this time of the year. a live look at atlanta's international airport as thousands of army privates are passing through as they break from basic training to head home for christmas. senior correspondent john roberts is live at jackson hartsfield international airport. maybe doing push upcontests as they get off the plane? >> reporter: drop and give me 50. jenna this is where it all happens at atlanta airport, uso claim where they well
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come vets coming from home. a plane came home from afghanistan via kuwait. battalion sized group of fresh-faced recruits from for the benning heading home to the holidays. they get 17 days of block leave. comb back for couple weeks of basic training and get their orders. we talked to a bunch them today one private said he was born ready. in fact he was because his name is jacob ready. i asked private ready how he felt what will be his last christmas before being potentially deployed to a war zone. here is what he told me. >> i know what i prepared for. i know what i'm getting into. that's why i signed up so. >> reporter: how does the family feel about this being your last time before you may go to the hot zone? >> i know my mom is worried. she will hang in tough for me. my dad is proud of me and knows i will be all right. >> reporter: we talked to some of the soldiers coming back from afghanistan, what would their advice be to the
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recruits as they head home for the holidays as they contemplate what comes next, rely on your training and always remember a honor to serve in the u.s. military. jenna. jenna: sounds like great advice. private ready is our kind of guy. proud of him and the rest of hess teammates as well. what is the reaction at airport, john. >> reporter: interesting to be here at after atlanta airport partly in the south where there is tremendous approval of the military. they get standing ovations. announcements are made on the planes of the first class passengers give up their seats. us. o and delta air lines and we were out on the military lounge on the b-concourse where we ran into charlie tucker. charlie tucker is a veteran of the vietnam war. he says the way he and his fellow soldiers and airmen were treated coming back from that war where they were spat upon anvilfied really made him feel like he needs to do something for this current crop of troops. here is what charlie told me. >> because of that, the way
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we were brought home, that may never another troop be brought home that way. that's why i'm here. that's why veterans are here to support these young men and women that are serving our country. we're proud of their service. we're proud of what they do. and in fact i could do it again, hell, yeah, i would do it again. >> reporter: you can see, charlie, emotions below the surface. he teared up literally as i asked him the question. what we're seeing today, jenna, a tremendous amount of appreciation for these new troops as they prepare to go into battle. jenna. jenna: we send our love as well. joan, thanks so much. a great story for us today. jon: a daring prison break like something you would see in the movies is now sparking a massive manhunt for two inmates who broke out. we're live at the breaking news desk with this weird story. you want to know how long you will live? just sit down and try to get up again. what this test is supposed to tell you and whether the
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result can be trusted. jenna: uh-oh. jon: our medical a-teamer weighs in.
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jon: just into the fox newsroom. it appears heads are starting to roll after that benghazi report issued late yesterday. the associated press is now reporting that a u.s. state department security chief and two others have proffered their resignations after the report on what led up to that benghazi attack came out. as you know we've been talking about it on "happening now." the report found that systemic failures and leadership management deficiencies at senior levels of the state department helped lead to the death of our ambassador and those three others.
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this is a serious bureaucratic mismanagement was responsible. that is just the unclassified version of the report. right now testimony is underway in the senate and house foreign affairs committees about some classified information that did not come out in yesterday's report. this is rocking washington obviously, apparently three resignations already underway. the top security officer at the state department and two others, that, according to the associated press. we'll keep you updated. >> very interesting development there. in the meantime the fbi is asking for your help as search is on for two bank robbers who busted out after federal prison. harris faulkner with the latest from our breaking news desk. >> reporter: the escape has been called daring and they are now being hunted. police want the public to see these pictures. here where we are in the story, 37-year-old joseph banks, known as the secondhand bandit and his former cellmate, 38-year-old ken negotiate conley were thought to be in a wooded area called tinley park
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south of chicago. swat teams moved in on a house in that area late yesterday and the men were gone. they believe banks and conley, that you see now on your screen, were at the home after they busted out of federal prison. tinley park is 25 miles away from the downtown lockup where they escaped from. we're learning more details how they did that. they used bedsheets to make a rope long enough to lower themselves down 15 floors. the timing though is interesting because the men were unaccounted for at the 5:00 a.m. headcount yesterday morning according to the u.s. marshal service and search with choppers and k-9 units did not begin until bedsheets were spotted hanging outside of a broken window hours earlier. that indicated the inmates lad a hefty, hefty, head start. joseph banks on the left called the secondhand bandit because he wore used clothes
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during his bank robberies making off with $600,000, most of which police say is still missing. last week minutes after being convicted of bank robbery, joseph banks warned the judge he would have more to say later, quote. you will hear from me, he told the judge. he had been quite disruptive throughout his trial. no exact details at this hour, jenna, where they're searching in illinois. back to you. jenna: bedsheets. think about that only in the movies, right? >> reporter: exactly. jenna: it works here. >> reporter: now reality. jenna: we'll see what happens, harris. thank you very much. interesting story out of chicago. jon: as friends and family mourn the loss of the victims in that terrible connecticut school shooting we're getting new information what may have set off the killer.
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jon: right now we are awaiting the appearance of the president in the brady briefing room. he is expected to announce creation of a task force to deal with some of the violent out breaks that we've seen in this country. let's go to our chief white house correspondented henry for
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that. >> reporter: this is the president's first chance after the memor memorial on sunday to talk about what he wants to do moving forward. he is going to name vice president biden to head a task force. they are talking about executive action and legislative action on capitol hill to deal with potential gun control legislation, mental health legislation. officials have made it clear this is not just about gun control, the president believes this is a multi-pronged problem. he's faced criticism for not doing more after other shootings, tucson, a roar a. that is part of it too now, the pressure on the president to act. jon: the president is expected to step into the room at any moment now. this is a time when his press secretary jay carney briefs the media. we are told the president himself will make an appearance. all indication -gs are that he will hand off the leadership of this task force to the vice president. here now president obama.
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>> good morning, everybody. it's now been five days since the hard-breaking tragedy in newtown, connecticut, three days since we gathered as a nation to pray for the victims, and today a few more of the 20 small children and six educators who were taken from us will be laid to rest. we may never know all the reasons why this tragedy happened. we do know that every day since more americans have died of gun violence. we know such violence as terriblhas terrible consequences for our society, and if there is even one thing that we can do to prevent any of these events we have a deep obligation, all of us, to try. over these past five days a discussion has reemerged as to what we might do not only to deter mass shootings in the future, but to reduce the
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epidemic of gun violence that playings this country every single day, and it's encouraging that people of all different backgrounds and beliefs and political persuasions have been willing to challenge some old assumptions and change long-standing positions. that conversation has to continue, but this time the words need to lead to action. we know this is a complex issue that stirs deeply-held passions and political divides, and as i said on sunday night there is no law or set of laws that can prevent every senseless act of violence in our society. we are going to need to work on making access to mental healthcare, as easy as access to a gun. we'll need to look more closely at a culture that all too often glorifies guns and violence. and any actions we must take must begin inside the home, and inside our hearts. but the fact that this problem
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is complex can no longer be an excuse for doing nothing. the fact that we can't prevent every act of violence doesn't mean we can't steadily reduce the violence and prevent the very worst violence. that's why i've asked the vice president to lead an effort that includes members of my cabinet, and outside organizations, to come up with a set of concrete proposals, no later than january, proposals that i then intend to push without delay. this is not some washington commission. this is not something where folks are going to be studying the issue for six months and publishing a report that gets read and then pushed aside, this is a team that has a very specific tax, to pull together real reforms right now. i asked joe to lead this effort in part because he wrote the
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1994 crime bill that helped law enforcement bring down the rate of violent crime in this country. that plan -- that bill also included the assault weapons ban that was publicly supported at the time by former presidents, including ronald reagan. the good news is there is already a growing consensus for us to build from. a majority of americans support banning the sale of military-style assault weapons. a majority of americans support banning the sale of high-capacity ammunition clips. a majority of americans support laws requiring background checks before all gun purchases so that criminals can't take advantage of legal loopholes to buy a gun from somebody who won't take the responsibility of doing a background check at all. i urge the new congress to hold votes on these measures next year in a timely manner. in considering congress hasn't
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confirmed a director of the bureau of alcohol, tobacco and firearms in six years, the agency that works most closely with state and local law enforcement to keep illegal guns out of the hands of criminals, i'd suggest that they make this a priority early in the year. look, like the majority of americans i believe that the second amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms. this country has a strong tradition of gun ownership that's been handed down from generation to generation. obviously across the country there are regional differences, there are differences between how people feel in urban areas and rural areas. and the fact is the vast majority of gun owners in america are responsible. they buy their guns legally and they use them safely, whether for hunting or sports shooting, collection or protection. but you know what? i am also betting that the
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majority, the vast majority of responsible, law abiding gun owners would be some of the first to say that we should be able to keep an irresponsible, law breaking few from buying a weapon of horror. i don't think they think using an unbalanced man shouldn't be able to get his hands-on a military style assault rifle so easily. we should be able to check someone's criminal record before he or she can check out at a gun show. if we work harder to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people there would be fewer atrocities like the one in newtown, or any of the lesser-known tragedies that visits small towns and big cities all across america every day. since friday morning a police officer was gunned down in memphis leaving four children
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without their mother. two officers were killed outside a grocery store in topeka. a woman was shot and killed inside a las vegas casino. three people were shot inside an alabama hospital. a four-year-old was caught in a drive by in missouri and taken off life support just yesterday. each one of these americans was a victim of the every day gun violence that takes the lives of more than 10,000 americans every year. violence that we cannot accept as routine. so, i will use all the powers of this office to help advance efforts aimed at preventing more tragedies like this. we won't proceed convenient them all, but that can't be an excuse not to try. it won't be easy, but that can't be an excuse not to try. and i'm not going to be able to do it by myself. ultimately if this effort is to
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success it's going to require the help of the american people. it's going to require all of you. if we're going to change things it's going to take a wave of americans, mothers, and fathers, daughter, and sons, pastors, law enforcement, mental health professionals, and, yes, gun owners, standing up and saying, enough on behalf of our kids. and it will take commitment and compromise, and most of all it will take courage. but if those of us who were sent here to serve the public trust can summon even one tiny iota of the courage those teachers, that principal in newtown summoned on friday, if cooperation and common-sense prevail, then i'm convinced we can make a sensible, intelligent way to make the united states of america a safer and stronger place for our children to learn and to grow.
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thank you, and now i'm going to let the vice president go and i'm going to take a few questions. and i will start with ben. >> thank you mr. president. i'd like to ask you about the other serious issue consuming this town right now the fiscal cliff. >> right. >> haven't you pre trade some of the voters who supported you in the election by changing your positions on who should get a tax increase and by including social security benefits now into this mix, and more broadly there seems to be a deepening sense that negotiations aren't going very well right now. can you give us a candid update, are we likely to go over the cliff? >> well, first of all, there is no reason why we should. remember what i said during the campaign, i thought that it was important for us to reduce our deficit in a balanced and responsible way. i said it was important for us to make sure that millionaires and billionaires paid their fair
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share. i said that we were going to have to make some tough cuts, some tough decisions on the spending side, but what i wouldn't do was hurt vulnerable families, only to pay for a tax cut for somebody like me. and what i said was that the ultimate package would involve a balance of spending cuts and tax increases. that is exactly what i've put forward. what i've said is, is that in order to arrive at a compromise i am prepared to do some very tough things, some things that some democrats don't want to see and probably a few republicans don't want to see either. but the only way that we'll be able to stabilize the economy, make sure we've got a platform for long-term economic growth, that we get our deficits under control, and we make sure that middle class families are
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protected is if we come up with something that members of both parties in congress can support. and that's the plan that i've put forward. i have gone at least halfway in meeting some of the republican's concerns, recognizing that even though we campaigned on these issues, even though the majority of americans agreed with me, that we should be raising taxes on the wealthist few as a means of reducing the deficit, i have also said this i'm willing to identify some spending cuts that make sense. and, frankly, up until about a couple of days ago, if you looked at it, the republicans in the house, and speaker boehner i think were in a position to say, we've gotten a fair deal. the fact that they haven't taken it yet is puzzling, and i think,
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you know, a question that you're going to have to address to them. i remain optimistic, though, because if you look at what the speaker has proposed, he's conceded that income tax rates should go up, except right now he only wants to have them go up for millionaires. if you're making 900,000, somehow he thinks that you can't afford to pay a little more in taxes. but the principle that rates are going to need to go up, he's conceded. i've said i'm willing to make some cuts. what separates us is probably a few hundred billion dollars. the idea that we would put our economy at risk because you can't bridge that gap doesn't make a lot of sense. so, i'm going to continue to talk to the speaker and the other leaders up in congress, but ultimately they've got to do their job. right now their job is to make sure the middle class taxes do not go up, and that we have a
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balanced, responsible package of deficit reduction. it is thei there for all to see. it is a deal that can get done, but it is not going to be -- it cannot be done if every side wants a hundred percent. and part of what voters were looking for is some compromise up here. that's what folks want. they understand that they are not going to get a hundred percent of what they want. and for some reason that message has not yet taken up on capitol hill. when you think of what we've gone through over the last couple of months, a devastating hurricane, and now one of the worst tragedies in our memory, the country deserves folks to be willing to compromise on behalf of the greater good, and not
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tangle themselves up in a whole bunch of ideological positions that don't make much sense. so, i remain not only open to conversations, but i remain eager to get something done. i'd like to get it done before christmas. there has been a lot of posturing up on capitol hill, and instead of just going ahead and getting stuff done and we've been i wasting wasting a lot of time. it's the right thing to do, i'm plea paired to get i prepared to get it done but they will have to go ahead and make some adjustments. i'll give you one other example, the speaker is now proposing what he calls plan b, so he says, well this would raise taxes only on folks making a million dollars or more. what that means is and average of a $50,000 tax break for every millionaire. at the same time we are not
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providing unemployment insurance for 2 million people still out there looking for work. it actually moans attraction increase for millions of working families across the country, at the same time as folks like me would be getting a tax break. that violates the core principles that were debated during the course of this election, and that the american people determined was the wrong way to go. and so my hope is, is that the speaker and his caucus in conjunction with the other legislative leaders up there can find a way to make sure that middle class families don't see their taxes go up on january 1st. that we make sure that those things that middle class families count on, like tax credits for college, or making sure that they are getting some help when it comes to raising their kids through things like the child tax credit, that that gets done, and that we have a
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balanced package for deficit reduction, which is exactly what i've put forward. >> will you give more ground if you need to? >> if you look at the package that i put forward, it is a balanced package by any definition. we have put forward real cuts in spending that are hard to do, in every category. and my any measure, by any traditional calculation, by the measures that republicans themselves have used in the past, this would be a -- as large a piece of deficit reduction as we've seen in the last 20 years. and if you combine that with the increased revenue from the wealthy paying a little bit more then you actually have something that would stabilize our deficit and debt for a decade, for ten
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years. now, the notion that we would not do that, but instead the speaker would run a play that cuts -- keeps tax cuts for folks making 500 or 700 or 800 or $900,000 a year, and gives more tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires, and raises taxes on middle class families, and then has no cuts in it, which is what he says he wants, doesn't make much sense. i mean, let's just think about the logic for a second. they are thinking about voting for raising taxes, at least on folks over a million, which they say they don't want to do, but they are going to reject spending cuts that they say they do want to do. that defies logic. there is no explanation for
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that. i think that any objective person out there looking would say that, you know, we put forward a very balanced plan and it's time for us to go ahead and get it done. that's what the country needs right now. because i think, you know, folks have been through some times, we are still recovering from a very tough recession, and what they are hoping for is a sense of stability, focus, compromise, common-sense, over the next couple of years, and i think we can provide it, but this is a good test for it. okay? carcarol lee. >> just the following question, what is your next move? are we in a position now where you're just waiting for the speaker to make a move? >> i'm going to reach out to all the leaders involved over the next couple of days and find out what is it that's holding this thing up. what is holding it up?
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if the argument from republicans is we haven't done enough spending cuts, that argument is not going to fly, because we've got close to a trillion dollars of spending cuts. and when you add interest then it's more than a trillion dollars in spending cuts. if the argument is that they can't do -- they can't increase tax rates on folks making 7 or $800,000 a year, that is not a persuasive argument to me and it's certainly not a persuasive argument to the american people. it may be that members of their caucus haven't looked at exactly what we've proposed. it may be that if we provide more information, or there is greater specificity, or we work through some of their concerns that we can get some movement
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there. but, you know, the fact of the matter is is that what would violate my commitment to voters is if i ended up agreeing to a plan that put more of the burden on middle class families and less of a burden on the wealthy in an effort to reduce our deficit. that's not something i'm going to do. what would violate my commitment to voters would be to put forward a plan that makes it harder for young people to go to college, that makes it harder for a family with a disabled kid to care for that kid. there is a threshold that you reach where the balance tips even in making compromises that are required to get something done in this town, where you are hurting people in order to give another advantage to folks who don't need help. and we had an extensive debate
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about this for a year, and not only does the majority of the american people agree with me, about half of republican voters agree with me on this. so, at some point there's got to be i think a recognition on the part of my republican friends that, take the deal. they will be able to claim that they have worked with me over the last two years to reduce the deficit more than any other deficit reduction package. that we will have staeu have stabilize -d it fod it. that is a significant achievement. they keep finding ways to say no instead of saying yes. i don't know how much of that has to do with -- it is very hard for them to say yes to me.
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at some point they've got to take me out of it and think about their voters, and think about what is best for the country, and if they do that, if they are not worried about who is winning and who is losing, did they score a point on the president, did they extract that last little concession, did they -- you know, force him to do something he really doesn't want to do, just for the heck of it, and they focus on actually what is good tore th for the country, i actually think we can get this done. >> when you mention the 700, 800,000 are you willing to move on income level and there are specific things. >> i'm not going to get into specific negotiations here. my point is simply, carol that if you look at speaker boehner's
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proposal and you look at my proposal they are actually pretty close. they keep on saying we haven't put forward real spending cuts. actually there was a graft in "the new york times" today that showed. they are the same categories, right? there is a little bit of tweaks here and there, there's a few differences, but, you know, we are right there. and on the revenue side there is a difference, in terms of them wanting to preserve tax breaks for folks between 250 and a million that we just can't afford. i mean keep in mind i'm in that income category, i'd love to, now, not pay as much in taxes, but i also think it's the right thing to do for us to make sure that people who have less, people who are working, people who are striving, people who, you know, are hoping for their kids, that they have opportunity. that's what we campaigned about. that's what we talked about. and this is not a situation
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where i'm unwilling to compromise. this is not a situation where i'm trying to rub their face in anything. i think anybody who looks at this objectively would say that coming off my election, i have met them at least halfway in order to get something done for the country. and so i noticed that there were a couple of headlines out there saying, you know, oh, we are now in the land of political posturing, and, you know, it's the usual, he said-he said atmosphere. but look at the facts, look at where we started, look at where they started? my proposal is right there in the middle. we should be able to get this done. let's get it done. we don't have a lot of time. carrie. there you are. >> thank you mr. president. what is your level of confidence that if you are able to reach a
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comprehensive deal with the speaker that he will be able to bring his members on board to get it passed. essentially do you still trust speaker boehner in this process? >> there is no doubt that, you know, the speaker has challenges in his caucus, and i recognize that. i'm often reminded when i speak to the republican leadership that the majority of their caucus'' membership come from district that i lost. and so sometimes they may not see and incentive in cooperating with me, in part because they are more concerned about challenges from a tea party candidate, or challenges from the right, and, you know, cooperating with me may make them vulnerable. you know, i recognize that.
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but goodness, if -- if this past week has done tpheugt should just give uanything it should just give us some perspective. if there is one thing we should have after this week it should be a sense of perspective about what is important. and, you know, i would like to think that members of that caucus would say to themselves, you know what we disagree with the president on a whole bunch of things, we wish the other guy had won. we are going to fight him on a whole range of issues over the next four years. we think his philosophy is all screwed up. but right now what the country needs is for us to compromise,
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get a deficit reduction deal in place, make sure middle class taxes don't go up, make sure that we are laying the foundations for growth, give certainty to businesses large and small, not put ourselves through some sort of self-inflicted crisis every six months, allow ourselves time to focus on things like preventing the tragedy in newtown from happening again, focus on issues like energy, and immigration reform, and all the things that will really make a determination as to whether our country grows over the next four years, ten years, 40 years. and if you just pull back from the immediate political battles, if you kind of peel off the partisan war paint, then we should be able to get something done. and, you know, i think -- i
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think the speaker would like to get that done. i think an environment needs to be created within not just the house republican caucus but also among senate republicans to say the campaign is over, and let's see if we can do what is right for the country, at least for the next month. and then, you know, we can reengage in all the other battles that they'll want to fight. >> if you don't get it done the republicans have said they'll try to use the debt limit as the next pressure point. would you negotiate with them in that context? >> no. and i've been very clear about this. this is the united states of america. the greatest country on earth, the world's economic super power, and the idea that we lurch from crisis to crisis, and every six months, or every nine
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months that we threaten not to pay our bills on stuff we've already bought, and default and ruin the full faith and credit of the united states of america, that's not how you run a great country. so, i put forward a very clear principle. i will not negotiate around the debt ceiling. we are not going to play the same game that we saw happen in 2011, which was hugely destructive, hurt our economy, provided more uncertainty to the business community than anything else that happened. and i'm not alone in this. you know, if you go to wall street, including talking to a whole bunch of folks who spent a lot of money trying to beat me,
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they would say it would be disastrous for us to use the debt ceiling as a cudjul to try to win political points on capitol hill. so we are not going to do that, which is why i think that, you know, part of what i hope over the next couple of days we see is a recognition that there is a way to go ahead and get what it is that you've been fighting for, these guys have been fighting for spending cuts, they can get some very meaningful spending cuts. this would amount to $2 trillion, $2 trillion in spending cuts over the last couple of years, and in exchange they are getting a little over a trillion dollars in revenue, and that meets the pledge that i made during the campaign, which
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was, you know, 2,050-cents of spending cuts for every revenue increase and that is an approach i think most americans think is appropriate. but i will not negotiate around the debt ceiling. we will not do that again. >> thank you, mr. president. getting back to the gun issue you alluded to fact that the washington doesn't have latest in the world. what makes you think this will be different given passage of time and political power of gun rights people? this will not be a commission. joe is going to gather up some key cabinet members who will have an interest in this issue. we're going to reach out to a bunch of stakeholders. we're going to be reaching out to members of congress who have an interest in this issue. it's not if we start from
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scratch. there are a whole bunch of proposals thought about and debated but hopefully some new ideas in terms how we deal with this issue. . .. their task is going to be, you know, sift through every good idea that's out there and even take a look at some bad ideas before disposing of them and come up with a concrete set of recommendations in about a month. and, i would hope that our memories aren't so short that, what we saw in newtown isn't lingering with us. that we don't remain passionate about it only a month later, and as soon as we get those recommendations i will be putting forward very specific proposals. i will be talking about them in my state of the union and we will be working with interested members of congress to try to get something done and, you know,
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the idea that we would say this is terrible, this is a tragedy, never again and we don't have the sustained attention span to be able to get this done over the next several months doesn't make sense. i have more confidence in the american people than that. i have more confidence in the parents, the mothers and fathers, that i have been meeting over the last several days, all across the country from all political persuasions including a lot of gun owners who say, you know what? this time we've got to do things differently. >> what about the nra? >> well, the nra is an organization that has members who are mothers and fathers and i would expect that they have been impacted by this as well and hopefully they will do some
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self-reflection and. here's what we know. that any single gun law can't solve all these problems. we're going to have to look at mental health issues. we'll have to look at schools. there are going to be a whole range of things that joe's group looks at. we know that issues of gun safety will be an element of it. and, you know, what wave seen over the past 20 years, 15 years, is the sense that anything related to guns is somehow an encroachment on the second amendment. what we're looking for here is a thoughtful approach that says, we can preserve our second amendment, we can make sure that responsible gun owners are able to carry out their activities, but, that we're going to actually be serious about the safety
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side of this. that we're going to be serious about making sure that something like newtown or aurora doesn't happen again. and there is a big chunk of space between what, you know, the second amendment means and having no rules at all. and that space is what joe will be working on to try to identify where we can find some common ground. so, i've got -- >> mr. president? >> i'm going to take one last question. go ahead, jake. >> seems to a lot of observers that you made the political calculation in 2008 in your first term and 2012, not to talk about gun violence. you had your position on renewing the ban on semiautomatic rifles then senator biden put into place and you didn't do much about
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it. this is not the first issue, first incident of horrific gun violence of your four years. where have you been? >> well, here's where i've been, jake? i've been president of the united states dealing with the worst economic crisis since the great depression. an auto industry on verge of collapse, two wars. i don't think i've been on vacation and so you know, i think all of us have to do some reflex on how wetize what e in washington and as i said on sunday, you know, this should be a walkup call for all of us to say that if we are not getting right the need to keep our children safe, then nothing else matters. it is my commitment to make sure that we do everything we can to keep our children
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safe. a lot of things are involved in that, jake. so making sure they have decent health care. making sure they have got a good education. making sure that their parents have jobs. those are all relevant as well. those aren't just, sort of side issues but there is no doubt that this has to be a central issue and that is exactly why i'm confident that joe is going to take this so seriously over the next couple months. thank you, everybody. jon: so after taking full advantage of the bully pulpit there, the president made a statement about gun violence and his proposal that the vice president head up a commission that will deal with and issue a report next month in january about ways to prevent gun violence of the kind that we saw in newtown, connecticut, last week. but then he launched into an explanation of his position on the fiscal cliff and took some pretty direct shots at speaker of the house john boehner and his republican
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caucus saying he met them more than halfway. and if the nation is to avoid going off the fiscal cliff it is really up to john boehner to make that happen. so the president getting his position very much out there and getting a lot of coverage for it in the meantime. jenna has another guest now to talk more about all of this. jenna: gives us material to talk about, right? that is not a bad thing. as you good to see news breaking as we can. chris wallace from "fox news sunday". chris, i was looking at information from gallup polling says half of the households in this country own guns. it is a sergeant portion of the population, that whatever comes of this conversation about guns will affect. the president says this time leads me to action. so we heard that before. in your opinion, chris, what will make this time different? >> well, i think first of all, not to say that aurora wasn't horrible, and the attack on the sikh temple in wisconsin and other terrible cases, gabby giffords case
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two years ago, and tucson, obviously this struck a chord with the american people. some people are suggesting it is the parallel to 9/11. and it's clear that the president is not going to let this one pass. tough rhetoric and nothing has happened but it's clear with the appointment of vice president biden to lead, in effect a task force with other cabinet members and,, as he said, members of outside organizations, members of congress, you're going to hear about this again in an action plan in the inaugural address. seems pretty clear to me, a month from now as well as in the president's state of the union speech, also a little over a month from now. he talked about mental health care. we need to make access to mental health care at least as easy as access to guns. he talked about the culture in hollywood that glorifies violence. i must say the vast majority of his comments what he will propose had to do with ounce about. he talked about getting rid of the assault weapons.
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about high-capacity magazines, background checks. i don't think this is going to lead to nothing. it will lead to something. whether or not he is able to get it through congress or not we'll see but clearly the president decided to take on this crusade. jenna: talk about your last point there, chris, realistic expectations what actually comes from all this. the president said both he is intending to push this without delay and he can't do it by himself. but then we see a report from reuters news that says that the president may use executive action in the results of this task force as you call it. so will he need congress to make changes to laws? are there things that he can do alone? >> the answer is, yes to both. there are some things he will be able to do alone by executive action. we saw in the last year he has been moving increasingly in that direction in a variety of areas. for instance his unilateral decision to stop going after the children of illegals. sort of a d.r.e.a.m. act
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light as it has been called. i'm sure they will study ways they can act unilaterally with other action. assault weapons ban he will have to get through congress. i must say i talked to a number of very strong supporters of guns in the last few days here in washington. i don't think they will go nearly as far as the president would like them, there seals to be growing acceptance idea that something needs to happen. newton -- newt town has to be a tippingpoint. a pro-gun senator said high capacity clips. there is no reason for clips that need more than 10 shots, 10 rounds of ammunition. some have 30 rounds, 100 rounds that would be one area that they might be able to get bipartisan support. clearly not all the things the president wants but i think there will be some middle ground here. jenna: you think that timeline is realistic, chris? you think suggestions by january and when? this would be something sit
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out in front of congress a year, two years? what about the timeline? >> the president talked about trying to do something in the next year. that he would have a plan from vice president biden and there are some, as i say, obviously places where he could reference this. in the flaug ral address on -- inaugural address on jon 21st and state of the union address that will come shortly thereafter. you could see a plan, action through congress and also executive action certainly within a little over a month, maybe less than a month and it will take some months for it to be negotiated through congress. some of it may not pass. clearly becomes clear this president this time as opposed to some of the other times when rhetoric was not followed by action intends to keep on this crusade for some period of time. jenna: 47% of the households, gun owners according to gallup. appreciate seeing you early. make sure you watch chris on "fox news sunday". a series of newsmakers for
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you. check the local listing for airtime on your fox station and we'll be right back with more "happening now."
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jon: breaking news out of the investigation into the terror attack on our consulate in benghazi, libya. the apreporting a -- ap reporting a top security department firm and two others stepped down after a harsh critical report citing clear failure at all levels of the state department including senior leadership. the terrorist attack left four americans dead including the u.s. ambassador to libya. charlie hirt is a columnist for "the washington times." charlie, after this report what happens now? >> well i think that, you know, the state department has to go forward and figure out how to implement a lot of these 29 recommendations but clearly the first thing we have seen is, and i suspect there was some pressure probably from higher up to sort of push some of these security people out.
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those three people that you just mentioned. but, you know, only a government report would, you know, find all of this gross negligence in security and things like this but then not pin the blame on anyone in any sort of public way. and so i think we're going to see, congress will sort of get into all this and they will ask a lot of tough questions and they will try to find out if there aren't some sort of bold-faced names that we all know who might not also bear more of the responsibility than it appears they do at the moment. jon: right. to condense some of the report and its conclusions the board found certain senior state department officials demonstrated a lack of proactive leadership and management ability. then it goes on to say however the board did not find reasonable cause to determine that any u.s. government employee breached his or her duty. >> the lack of leadership would get you fired in most
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private sector situations, especially that resulted in that big of a calamity. we should kind of keep that in mind. jon: right. secretary of state hillary clinton has not been available to testify in front of the house or the senate this week because of her injury. ileana ros-lehtinen, congresswoman from florida and head of the hoist foreign relations committee said a short time ago she still expects senator clinton to testify. and we heard tennessee senator republican bob corker say he wants to have her testify before she leaves office s that likely to happen? >> well, you know, it seems a perfectly reasonable request to have her testify about this. this is a pretty big issue. a couple weeks ago i would have said the political firestorm was dying down because of susan rice's decision not to pursue being named secretary of state but
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i think that this whole curiosity here about why did, you know, football player has a concussion and goes to the hospital. our secretary of state has a concussion and she goes home. doesn't seek a help at a hospital. doesn't go through kinds of tests. it is all very curious? why did this all come up? what are they hiding behind? what is secretary of state clinton not eager to go before a congressional committee to say look, these are the problems we found and this is what we pros to to do when we fix it and when i'm gone this is what you should do. all very murky. jon: lots of questions left to answer. let's hope we get answers. charlie hirt from the "washington times.". >> thank you, jon. jon: we'll be right back how does it work? you just he to eat it as part of your heart healthy diet. step 1. eat the soup. all those veggies and beans, that's what may help lower your cholesterol and -- well that's easy [ male announcer ] progresso. you gotta taste this soup.
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jenna: why the shooter went on the mud rain showers rampage at sandy hook elementary school is the investigation is ongoing. we have the former co-chair of new york's anti-terrorism task force. he does threat assessments around the world, bob, of different sites including schools in connecticut how to keep property and people inside safe. >> right, safe. jenna: you just heard the president talk for about 40 minutes including some questions about gun control that are coming up now. what is your initial reaction to this new task force that is being created? >> i mean everything the president said is right off on in trying to address the issue at every angle. he brought up gun control. he brought up the psychiatric issues. he brought up the fact we need more security in schools in of itself. when you combine those things that is the macro view we have to look. we have to have one person in charge. that has to be a director of security for the school systems.
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jenna: stay there. if all of things out there right now, do you think that the number one immediate priority should be security at schools? >> absolutely. right off the bat, i think that we need to make a soft target a little bit more difficult to get to. this school in connecticut had excellent security for a safe suburban town. many schools across our country don't even have that type of security. jenna: talking about video surveillance? >> cctv, gates, computerized decals only authorized vehicles get in. i like to see a security officer at every school. jenna: security director not on campus, someone there permanently. >> right. to implement the programswork wl psychologist. look at kids who aren't coming to school. to observe anything that could be, you know, obvious to them. jenna: in your professional person should that person be armed? >> absolutely. look at all the agents we have retiring in their 40s across our country. veterans coming home from
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the wars who have experience in this area. there is so much qualified, good people, that can get into these schools across our country and make them safer. i think we need to get started on that right away. jenna: how do we do that? >> you know what? we hire them. i think the towns will hire them. always comes back to the same thing. parents are going to say, i don't want my kids to go to school unless i know they're safe. parents and families will look at real estate based on whether or not their schools are safe. they used to just look at s.a.t. scores. now they will say do we have security in the schools that we need? is there a security director? what programs do they have in place to keep my child safe. jenna: real quick here. only have couple seconds. if you're a parent going into your child's school any day now, is there something you should look for to make sure your child's school has x, y, z as a start? >> i think one thing parents need it do, talk to the principal, talk to whoever is in charge. make sure there is good working relationship with the local police because that is very important.
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they had it here in newtown. it worked well. the police responded very quickly. you have to make sure that's there. also they have to be starting to talk about we need to get people involved. we need to have more security. we need to loosen up this school system so that we now have a tight system that we don't have anybody just walk in off the street or come in, you know, during the day when our kids are here. jenna: absolutely. >> by them selfs. jenna: can't have that anymore. bob, hope to have you back with a longer conversation about this. thank you for your time today. we'll be back with more "happening now" hi. i'm henry winkler.
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